All “ABOARD,” Next Stop West Geauga

Community Elects New School Board Members

2014 West Geauga School Board. Sitting (l to r) Dr. Phelps, Mr. kilroy, Mr. Thoreson.
Standing, Mrs. Dottore, Mr. Kotowski

2014 West Geauga School Board. Sitting (l to r) Dr. Phelps, Mr. kilroy, Mr. Thoreson. Standing, Mrs. Dottore, Mr. Kotowski

     In the November 5th election, the voters of the West Geauga School District elected two new members to the school board. Dr. Thomas Phelps and Mr. Dan Thoreson defeated incumbents William Beers and Sally Gilmore.  

     Thoreson and Phelps both acknowledged the controversy over the school district’s open enrollment policy as a factor in their election. “On open enrollment, people in the school district felt their voices were not being heard, and that will not be the case with me. I believe in working on this question together with residents,” Phelps said.

     Both Thoreson and Phelps hope to take a pragmatic approach as board members and to improve communications between the board and the public, another issue that both acknowledged as being a factor in their election.

     “Residents don’t want to be ignored,” Thoreson said. He noted that the current board, “…appears to (have) lost the art of compromise.”

     “I hope to come in and look at both sides of everything, making sure everyone has his or her viewpoint heard and recorded so there will be more communication with the community,” Phelps said.

     Both Thoreson and Phelps believe their prior experience in the private sector will help them achieve their goals as board members.

     Thoreson is a relator and served as a Burton Village councilman for five years. “I’ve got 20 plus years of business experience and would look at the school district as a business, rather than just a school system,” Thoreson said.

     Phelps has worked as a pediatrician in the community for 25 years. “Being a pediatrician enables me to listen to families and their challenges. I have an ear to a lot of things, which could help open doors or be a balancing viewpoint for issues that [might] come up,” Phelps said.